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Greene & Greene is a long established firm of solicitors based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Our lawyers advise individuals and businesses based all over the UK.

We regularly attract new clients who have been using firms in London, but now receive a more cost efficient and more personal service from us here in Bury St Edmunds.

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Entries in Employment Advice (22)

Wednesday
Jan102018

A year of equal pay

It is a century since women first won the right to vote in Britain. Let us honour that brave generation by making this the year we win equal pay.” Carrie Gracie, Journalist.

The Equal Pay Act 1970 was introduced 48 years ago to ensure equal pay for men and women who do equivalent or ‘like’ work, yet women are still earning less than men. 

The Government has pledged to ‘end gender pay gap in a generation.’  Consequently, gender pay gap reporting is now mandatory for all organisations with 250 or more employees.

We predicted that one of the consequences of publishing the gender pay gap would be an increase in grievances about pay which in turn could result in equal pay claims; our prediction was right!

Last year the BBC published a 10.7% gender pay gap. As a result, according to BBC Women, a group of about 150 broadcasters and producers made complaints about equal pay.  

Carrie Gracie, who worked as the China Editor for the BBC learned that in the previous financial year, the two men earned at least 50% more than the two women”.  She maintains that “this is not the gender pay gap that the BBC admits to.... It is pay discrimination and it is illegal.” The BBC maintains that there were differences between roles which justified the pay gap. Carrie Gracie resigned as a result of a “dismayingly incompetent and undermining grievance process which still has no outcome.” It is said that the BBC have commissioned PwC to conduct a pay audit of all ‘on-air’ staff. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has also recently announced that it will consider whether further action against the BBC is required.

The BBC is not however the only organisation which has identified a gender pay gap.  Based on the data published to date (of approximately 500 organisations); PwC themselves have a high gender pay gap, with a 33.1% difference in women’s pay compared to men. Based on published data, the highest is Phase Eight with a 64.8% difference. Virgin Money, Ladbrokes Coral and Easy Jet have all been in the news recently as a result of their high gender pay gap.

The pressure for transparency and equal pay is growing; is your business ready for this change?

Links:

http://carriegracie.com/news.html

https://gender-pay-gap.service.gov.uk/Viewing/search-results

 Contact Us

If you have any questions on gender pay gap reporting, equal pay or employment law generally please contact Angharad Ellis Owen (aellisowen@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717453) or Greg Jones (gregjones@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717446).

For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.

Wednesday
Jan032018

Update on Gender Pay Gap Reporting

Employers with 250 or more employees have until 4 April 2018 to publish their gender pay gap reports. To date, only 502 employers (out of an estimated 9,000) have reported on their gender pay obligations.

If you require any assistance in order to comply with your obligations under Gender Pay Gap Reporting (GPGR) please get in touch with our Employment Team.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (ECHR) has launched a consultation on its proposal to use enforcement powers to take action against employers who do not comply with the requirement to publish information on their gender pay gap.

The consultation for the planned approach to enforcement will run until 2 February 2018.

In summary the ECHR’s proposal includes:

  • Encouraging overall compliance, such as posting the number of compliant and non-compliant employers on social media before and just after the compliance date.
  • Promotion of enforcement work in order to encourage other employers to comply with the GPGR.
  • Informal action and cooperation is the preferred option but formal enforcement action will be pursued where employers do not comply.
  • In 2018/19, the intention is to focus enforcement work on employers who do not publish the information required by the GPGR. If they have the capacity to do so, they may also take action against employers for publication of inaccurate data.

Further information about the proposal and responding to the consultation are available by following the link below.

https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/what-we-do/our-consultations/our-plans-enforce-gender-pay-gap-regulations-have-your-say

Contact Us

If you have any questions on employment law please contact Angharad Ellis Owen (aellisowen@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717453) or Greg Jones (gregjones@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717446). For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.

Friday
Dec152017

Tribunal Claims up by 64% 

The Ministry of Justice published the tribunals’ quarterly statistics on 14 December 2017. In the period of July to September 2017 the number of single claims received increased by 64% to the highest rise in the past four years. By way of comparison, the increase in claims in the previous quarter (between April and June 2017) was only 2%. This sharp increase can only be as a result of the abolition of tribunal fees on 26 July 2017.  This culture change highlights the importance for employers to follow fair procedures and make sound decisions when it comes to their employees.

Contact Us

If you have any questions on employment law please contact Angharad Ellis Owen (aellisowen@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717453) or Greg Jones (gregjones@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717446).

 For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.

Thursday
Nov232017

What does the 2017 Autumn Budget mean for Employers and Employees?

The Chancellor delivered his 2017 Autumn Budget speech on Wednesday 22 November. On the same day, the full Budget report was published by the Government.

Employment lawyer, Greg Jones talks through the key points that will be of interest to employers and employees as summarised by the Employment Lawyers Association.

Wages

The Government has confirmed that it has accepted the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission (LPC) for increases to the national living wage (NLW) and the national minimum wage (NMW). Accordingly, from April 2018 the Government will increase the NLW, which applies to workers aged 25 and over, by 4.4% from £7.50 to £7.83. The LPC has estimated that this will benefit over 2 million workers. At the same time, the NMW rates will be increased as follows:

•             from £7.05 to £7.38 for 21 to 24 year olds;

•             from £5.60 to £5.90 for 18 to 20 year olds;

•             from £4.05 to £4.20 for 16 and 17 year olds; and

•             from £3.50 to £3.70 for apprentices.

Taxation

In accordance with its commitment to raise the personal allowance (PA) to £12,500 and the higher rate threshold (HRT) to £50,000 by 2020, the Government has announced that in the 2018/19 tax year the PA and HRT will be increased to £11,850 and £46,350 respectively. The Government has also announced that, with effect from April 2018, there will be no benefit in kind charges on electricity that employers provide to charge employees’ electric vehicles. The report further details a number of changes the Government will make to the taxation of employee expenses following a call for evidence that was published in March 2017.

Employment status

The Government has stated that it will publish a discussion paper as part of its response to the Taylor review of employment practices, which will explore the case and options for longer-term reform to make employment status tests for both employment rights and tax clearer. It has acknowledged that this is an important and complex issue, and it will therefore work with stakeholders to ensure that any potential changes are considered carefully.

Link to Budget report:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/661583/autumn_budget_2017_print.pdf

If you have any questions regarding employment matters please contact Greg Jones (gregjones@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717446) or  Angharad Ellis Owen (aellisowen@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717453). For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.

Friday
Oct202017

Employment Tribunal Fee refund scheme launched

The Ministry of Justice and HM Courts & Tribunals Service have announced that the first wave of people eligible for employment tribunal fee refunds will be able to apply from today.

This follows an appeal hearing by Unison and the subsequent ruling by the Supreme Court in July where they declared that “fees for those bringing employment tribunal claims were ruled to be unlawful and therefore nullified.”

During this first stage of the phased implementation up to around 1,000 people will be contacted and given the chance to complete applications before the full scheme is opened up in the coming weeks.

As well as being refunded their original fee, successful applicants to the scheme will also be paid interest of 0.5%, calculated from the date of the original payment up until the refund date.

It is claimed that the opening phase will last for around 4 weeks. Further details of the scheme, including details of how it can be accessed, will be made available when the scheme is rolled out fully.

If you have any questions regarding employment tribunals or any other employment matter please contact Angharad Ellis Owen (aellisowen@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717453) or Greg Jones (gregjones@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717446). For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.

Wednesday
Jul262017

Employment tribunal fees unlawful

   The Supreme Court has declared this morning that fees for those bringing employment tribunal claims have been ruled unlawful and will be nullified. As a result, the government will possibly have to repay up to £32m to claimants in respect of fees paid between 2013 and now.

The decision follows the appeal by the trade union Unison who argued that the fees prevented many workers from getting ‘access to justice’.  The Supreme Court referred to the Government’s review on the impact of fees (discussed in our previous blog on 1 February 2017).  There has been ‘a sharp, significant and sustained fall’ ‘in the number of employment tribunal claims since the introduction of fees representing a reduction of 66–70% of cases. The proportion of claimants receiving fee remission was also lower than the government had anticipated. On this evidence the Court concluded that many people found the fees unaffordable and had been denied access to justice.

With fees ranging between £390 (Type A) and £1,200 (Type B) for a case to be heard at a hearing, the Supreme Court also concluded that it was indirectly discriminatory to charge higher fees for type ‘B’ claims (which include discrimination claims) than type ‘A’ claims (such as unpaid wages). It was found that a higher proportion of women bring Type B claims than Type A and that they were placed at a particular disadvantage compared to men; and it could not be objectively justified why Type B claims were more expensive.

What happens next?

  • Anyone lodging a tribunal claim will not be required to pay the tribunal fees. Those who have paid the fees (be it Claimants or Respondents) will have to watch this space in terms of how to reclaim fees (if possible).
  • Whether the number of claims will rise as sharply as they fell on the introduction of the fees regime is something Employers, ACAS and the Employment Tribunals will be watching very carefully. If they do, significant resources will need to be put back into the system to avoid a further backlog of claims.  
  • The Court’s decision does not prohibit the government imposing fees in the future as the decision relates to the level of fees being unlawful and preventing access to justice. Further consultation on this is likely to be necessary before any decision is taken.
  • Immediate attention is required by the Employment Tribunals Service for reprogramming the online claim form system and for them to rewrite the tribunal rules.
  • There is also the question concerning the amount of people who chose not to bring a claim due to the cost of the fees and whether they will seek to lodge their claims out of time. Although the answer the question is unknown, anyone in this position will need to act immediately to avoid prejudicing their chances.

If you have any questions regarding employment tribunals or any other employment matter please contact Greg Jones (gregjones@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717446) or Angharad Ellis Owen (aellisowen@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717453).

For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit http://www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.